Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Is the Christian Dual Natured? (part 2)

… Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (John 3:3)

Born Again? What does this mean? I remember when reading this the first time, it seemed like Nicodemus must have thought that this was a real oxymoron. How can I enter a second time into my mother’s womb? Jesus explained to him that flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit. What does that mean? If you are a born-again believer, think about yourself for a minute. Before you were regenerated, did you not have a mind? Yes. You were a person. You were not “just flesh” but you had a mind and a soul. Did this flesh die when you became a Christian? No. Just poke your finger with a needle and you can see that your flesh is very much alive. Why would we think that the mind died … or the soul?

I want to think about the incredible truth as to what has happened to a person who is born again. It is truly amazing what the Bible says about this.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet 1:4)

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:24)

The new man, the new creation in Christ, is actually a partaker of the divine nature. Wow!

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)

This new person cannot sin. This person is holy, untainted by sin. Does this represent everything about you? Does this represent our experience? Not as a whole. We know that we still are not all that God intended us to be … as a whole. This is because of the “old nature”. You know – that other person that we were before we were saved. He is still around. We are attached to him until death. (The word death actually implies separation.) At that time, he will be burned up. Hallelujah!

This is the only explanation that is currently tenable for me of the born again Christian. We are not in sinless perfection. The Bible says that the new creation is in sinless perfection. How can both be true unless there are two natures? If we want to say that the old person is truly gone, then how is it that we can still access that person’s memories? How is it that we can still remember that person’s attitudes? How is it that we can still feel that person’s desires, hurts, longings? He is not dead experientially. However, (and this is the joyous truth) he is as good as dead because of the cross.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

This language is telling of the plan and program of God. If we set our minds and hearts on the truth in the above passage, we will minimize the old man. It will eventually die. The chain of events has been set in motion and they will be completed. Nothing you or I do can separate us from the Divine nature that is now within us. As a whole, experientially, we haven’t arrived yet! However, in the mind of God, it is complete and Christ has won the victory.

… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philipians 1:6)

to be continued … What to do with the “old man” and … challenges to this doctrine.

the End

34 Comments:

  • That is a great post.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/14/2006 3:19 PM  

  • Thanks, Matthew.
    I am thankful that what I say makes some sense. Thanks for reading.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/14/2006 9:25 PM  

  • Rose, I have heard many preachers that I wish had the grasp on this concept that you do. Excellent job.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 2/15/2006 6:23 AM  

  • Rose I suspect that misunderstanding the ontology of man is the cause for much of the debate concerning what is commonly called sanctification. Thanks for clearly addressing this distinction between the two natures.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/15/2006 8:02 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    In Col. 3 Paul is telling me to 'keep seeking the things above', 'set my mind on the things above', suggesting that this is my goal, as opposed to something already accomplished by Spirit control.
    He tells me what I once walked in and tells me to now 'put them all aside'. So I've 'laid them aside' and 'put on the new self', and it's beautiful and full and full of peace, but my old nature/man/self is right there ready to act if I let him. Particuly when I get around certain old friends or relatives. He's become foriegn and abhorrent to me but I've discovered that he is still ready to assert his will if given the opportunity. That's my dualing self anyway. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/15/2006 9:24 AM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    Thank you for saying that. I take your comment as affirmation that I understand this correctly.

    kc,
    I think you are right about that. I am so honored that you read my posts. God bless.

    Todd,
    Your experience sounds a lot like mine. There are certain situations where my old self is terribly apparent to me. I must make concerted effort to slap him down. Thank you for your blog friendship.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/15/2006 10:38 AM  

  • Rose~

    Great subject, I have wanted to tackle this one many times. In fact, I have had the opportunity to preach on it a number of times.

    When we understand the battle in our soul, we will see why the aspect of reward and loss makes so much sense. We must cooperate with the Spirit of God by yielding ourselves to His control daily.

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at 2/15/2006 1:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Good Job.... Born again

    I love that... I was talking to Blue Collar about this and it came to mind. That it take God to form us in our mother womb and it take God to put the Holy Spirit in us. You can't have ether with God.
    Amen

    Thank You
    God Bless You

    By Blogger forgiven, at 2/15/2006 2:03 PM  

  • Nice Rose. Enjoyed and it was expressed very well.

    By Blogger ambiance-five, at 2/15/2006 2:37 PM  

  • Hi JIm,
    Do you think that I understand it right? Is that the way you see this particular battle?

    Hi forgiven,
    That is really neat what you were talking to bluecollar about! Both births take the work of God. What a wonderful thought, so true! Both "miracles".

    (oh no ... I feel a post coming on about the word "miracle")


    Ambiance,
    Thanks for reading and making your presence known. Bless you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/15/2006 9:47 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Sorry I'm in such a rush, not much time to chat just now. But I wrote an article on this question a few months ago. Here's the link if you have a litte more time than I do, and you'd like to read up on it. Hope this helps.

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/15/2006 11:43 PM  

  • Oops, I almost forgot. Here's another link that tells about the phrase 'born again' and what it means.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/16/2006 12:00 AM  

  • Rose, now you are making me really read into this post. :)

    I think you are definitely on the right track, keep digging and laying the scriptural groundwork.

    Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)

    I think this verse is very much misunderstood in Christian circles. Clearly the one born of the Spirit here cannot sin, and yet I have heard preachers say that it really means they cannot continue to practice sin, or habitually sin. No, the verse says that he cannot sin, period.

    So the question is, who is John referring to here? Who is the he?

    Well, we know our flesh is not born again, but rather our spirit is regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures tells us that we are one spirit with Christ. "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit".

    Therefore the he that cannot sin is our mingled spirit, God's Spirit indwelling and abiding in our spirit. We are now to reckon the old man (our former nature, or the flesh) dead to sin and now live the rest of the time in our flesh, by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. This is done by using our will to submit to the Holy Spirits direction and control.

    As Paul says, for me to live is Christ! That is not just his experience but is also our objective fact that we must daily choose to let Christ be the Lord of our lives. We will wrestle with the flesh until we are separated from this mortal body in death or His return.

    Failure to reckon our old man dead will result in him expressing himself in our lives allowing sin to reign, causing death. We must realize who we are in Christ and that we are no longer bound to obey the lusts of the body.

    The Lord will reward His faithful servants at His coming, and we cannot begin to fathom how lavishly He will bestow upon them His blessed favor.

    Conversely, those servants that live their Christian life still in a carnal, natural way will lose out on the best, and suffer the shame of His rebuke. These pictures are clearly seen throughout the pages of scripture and I think Antonio's latest post given ample evidence.

    Well, I hope I didn't steal any of your thunder, there is lots here to mine.

    By Blogger Jim, at 2/16/2006 12:48 AM  

  • Hi Rose~
    Great post!

    This may be a challenge for some to get their arms around.

    Gnosticism teaches that salvation is through a “secret knowledge”, and is known for its ontological dualism. The concept is that all of the material creation is evil. Some sparks of divinity have been lying dormant (until it is discovered) in the bodies of those destined for salvation.

    I don’t think this what you are talking about here. Some may be bent on this idea so don’t get discouraged or bothered, press onward sister, I am looking forward to you next post.

    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 2/16/2006 6:31 AM  

  • Rose.

    How then do you deal with Romans 6:1-14 or 2Cor.5:17? Our old self is crucified with Christ;we are no longer slaves to sin as we were before regeneration. We can not down play the lessons contained in these portions of scripture. All things have become new. Galatians 5:16-23 speaks of the tension between our flesh and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are to feed, yea feast on His word and maintain communion with Him in prayer. We are truely to seek those things above, set our hearts there, seeking first His kingdom, desiring to love and know Him yet more and more. These desires are new to the person at regeneration. They do not arise naturaully from within. The desires to move on in sanctification are solely the result of the Holy Spirit's having given us a new nature. Before regeneration we were slaves to sin- no truely godly desires at all. Now, after regeneration, and solely as a result of it, we wish to walk in God's ways. The desires and the power to perform those deires are, for the most part, what makes up the new nature,all inspired by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is...LOVE; Love for God and His people, and for the lost. None of this would be possible without regeneration.

    I guess it all comes down to the differences we all have on the issue of total depravity. I know that I am about to be skewered, but, Oh well.

    Thanks for your time.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/16/2006 8:50 AM  

  • Rose,

    There now, you see Doug told you that he and I had a converation that was inspired by your post. See what power you have, that spands all these hundreds of miles?! OH! SUCH POWER!

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/16/2006 11:00 AM  

  • John,
    Yes, it did sort of remind me of that. Thanks for sort of bringing that up. I haven't been able to put a finger on my own confusion in this post recently. I think there is definitly something I'm not entirely certain about in all of these scriptures so this is a great topic and I think it will help me out alot.

    Bluecollar/Rose,

    I come at this not certain exactly what I believe about have two people inside of myself, but I think I know what you are getting at. After hearing others now just so you all know.

    Thanks and I think I couldn't pinpoint this either as well because in Colossians 3:9-10

    "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."

    See how it is saying you have already "In the past" put off the old self (Colossians 3:1-4) or crucified the old self it says in other scripture, we now must not let sin overtake us.

    Sanctification is a work of God's free Grace. Here's some verses to consider this aspect in His Work of Sanctification working in us. (John 17:7,2 Corinthians 6:16-17,Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:10, 3:20, Philippians 1:6, 2:13, Colossians 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

    However that doesn't mean we don't play a passive role in this as it is a work in cooperation in the sense that we must pray and ask God to help us die daily to sins and we must seek the good and seek heavenly things.

    I'm surprised as some free gracers I have heard seem to suggest that sanctification is all up to us. I definitely hope I have misunderstood them. How can we suggest that sanctification is not a part of all believers lives. I think I will write an article on that some day. Either way it's a work of God in salvation and his work in us. We must never downplay that part.

    Though it is true we must continually present ourselves to God and desire to see him more fully, it's doesn't negate our responsiblity to keep in step with the Spirit.

    Here's some verses that show us this work of Grace in our life is not a passive experience (Luke 9:23, Romans 6:19, Romans 6:22, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 4:24, Philippians 2:12, Hebrews 12:14, Colossians 3:5-17)

    Please I'm not trying to write up verses to prove my point, but mostly their so we can consider it and try to ask God to renew our minds to scripture on this one.

    Rose,
    Thanks so much for bringing this up

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/16/2006 12:35 PM  

  • Rose and company,

    Please forgive me if I have misunderstood anyone's position, I really do think I'm working through this one.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/16/2006 12:43 PM  

  • I think in my through the bible in a year, I'll take these verses down on this topic this year as I'm taking down verses that refer to God's sovereignty this year as well as some phrases I really like in the Psalms.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/16/2006 12:47 PM  

  • Rose, this is a good post.

    To fully explain the doctrine of re-birth would take an encyclopedia sized set of books.

    Dealing with it in the light of I John 3, would take a couple of more books.

    The bible clearly teaches: We all sin, before and after being saved (witness Pauls own testimony); any moment that we are fully "in Christ" we cannot sin (but in practice those moments almost never come [maybe never]); being born again means assimilating Christ's finished work at the Cross of Calvary.

    But your analysis of what happens when a person is born again is a good synopsis thereof.

    By Blogger Joe, at 2/16/2006 7:49 PM  

  • Loren,
    I am so glad that you came over. You are such a kind blogger. Even that one time when we really disagreed, you were very gently in your challenge and I appreciated the challenge because of your attitude. I will definately read those links later. I think you have a lot of good things to say.
    New blog title:
    Let's Get to know Loren Better!

    Jim,
    Thanks for that answer. I must do some more digging. I have been busy last night and today. Wed. - Fri. are my busy time of the week. As to 1 John 3:9, I am glad that I am not the only one who sees that as saying what it seems to say.

    Mingled spirit? This could be the answer. I thank you for your contribution. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 7:53 PM  

  • J. Wendell,
    Thank you. You know that the charge of gnosticism on the other blog really bugged me. I don't think that we should encourage the works of the flesh, or, as BHedr stated on the previous post, love the thorn more than the rose.
    Thank you for your personal, husbandly support and your blog support. I love you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 7:55 PM  

  • Hi bluecollar!! I am going to post those scriptures and then give them a look. I welcome any reader to look at these and throw in your two cents as to how these wonderful passages impress your godly mind.

    Romans 6:1-14
    1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
    5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

    8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

    11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.


    2Cor.5:17
    14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
    16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 8:01 PM  

  • Romans 6 - this is what my brother refers to when he says that our other self is dead becuase "how can you survive crucifixion?"

    I don't remember being crucified, though ... Christ was crucified in my place, was He not? I don't think that Paul really meant that he had been crucified, either, because he says that he "dies daily". He encourages believers to put to death the old self and to put on the new self. Bluecollar, I think this is really a great mystery, don't you?! This passage is so awesome! It speaks of the wonderful mysterious fact that Christ has borne all of our sins in His body and that He died with them and then rose, conquering them. This is the truth about what God did with the guilt of our sin, the justice that was owed us. This should cause us to put off as much as we can, that which is displeasing to Him. Am I wrong?

    For the record" I DON"T THINK THAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD GO ON INDULGING IN SINFUL PLEASURES that really don't satisfy anyway. Haven't we learned that Christ is our satisfaction and the things of the world just make us more thirsty? Lust breeds more unquenchable lust. No drink can anesthicise the mind enough. We always will want more. We will always return to our reality. Buying things is not the answer either. We always want more. Christ alone can satisfy. I think Christians should put off carnality and look for that which feeds the Spirit within us, fellowship, the Word and prayer. We don't have to be led around by the nose to do what the flesh wants, because we have the Spirit of God living in us and He wants us to do something! Isn't that what Paul is saying?

    As to the second passage:
    Christ's love compels us
    Wow, that is deep. Does that mean that we are moved by the love of Christ (who is in our new nature!) to share His good news? I think so, but tell me if you think I am wrong. I can take it.

    We are a new creation! Hallelujah!
    When it says the old is gone, the new has come, does that mean that our old life, separated from God, is gone because now He has come to reside in us, having removed the sin barrier?

    Do you think that it means that the pre-salvation Mark is dead, experientially? That is OK with me if anyone believes that! Hey, live and let live! You know I love the Ethereal Chicken Wing!

    I do have one question though (and I really wish that someone would try to answer this, it is probably very simple)
    If he is dead experientially, how can you remember his feelings, his experiences, his longings, his passions?

    See, if you look at it as something that has been accomplished, but has not taken full effect yet (the dying of our self, the burial with Christ) then it makes more sense how I can remember all of Rosie's thoughts etc... and you, all of Mark's thoughts, etc ...

    What do you think?
    Your friend! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 8:33 PM  

  • Oh, and Bluecollar,
    I am amazed that your conversation was sparked by my old blog. Wow! It must be the power of the Word that we were talking about ... not me ... I am a weakling!
    Now, quit staring me down like that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 8:35 PM  

  • Shawn,
    Good thoughts on sanctification in Collossians 3! No misunderstanding. I think we are all working through it. I know I am. :~)

    Joe,
    You are too kind to visit here. Thanks for your affirmation and may you be blessed. We love you! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/16/2006 8:41 PM  

  • Rose,
    What I mean by the old nature is that one that was once a slave to sin- not only that one mentioned in Romans 6, but also mentioned in Eph. 2:1-3, that one that is by nature a child of wrath, that one led about by the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience, the prince of the power of the air. That old nature spoken about in Rom.3 that does not seek God nor understand him; that one who actually takes pleasure in in sinning mentioned in Rom.1:18 through end of chapter.

    Gotta go now. Heavey winds outside and lights are flikering, about to lose power.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 7:24 AM  

  • Rose,
    Lights are still on for now, I have to post fast before they go out. Thank you for another thought provoking post! I love how analytical your mind is.

    Should I change my avatar? What do you mean I am staring you down? I am just a harmles little fuz-ball!

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 7:52 AM  

  • Thanks for the clarification, Bluecollar. Listen, I want to tell you: You are a fine person to discuss these things with. I appreciate the fact that you can disagree agreeably and that you don't seem to get emotional or unreasonable with me. I am coming to really value that in the God Blogdom. Thanks for being a nice guy.

    The wind was very harsh here last night. The weather system must be travelling in that direction. Our power went out at one point because the clocks were all messed up this a.m.

    Your avatar is really cool.
    Intimidating.
    (just kiddin) :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/17/2006 8:48 AM  

  • My new avatar will be a picture of my all time favorite hero...Fog-Horn-Leg-Horn.

    ECW

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 9:00 AM  

  • Rose,
    BTW. I am glad that your blog is a discussion blog, and not a rant blog where opposing view points are "skewered". You've made me feel very comfortable and welcome here, even though you and I don't always agree. I appreciate that, Thank you! I shall not mind coming again. Bless you.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 9:12 AM  

  • Rose,
    Some more reflections:

    Can you remember the days before you came to Christ ( at age 20, when somebody looked you in the eye, and said, "Jesus died for you!". There, how is that that one of your readers actually remembers the things you write!)? Your desires were to go to bars and to live as YOU saw fit. That was your old nature. Then, after you came to Christ, new desires, ones that were never there before, started to become attractive to you. Oh sure, they started as just a flicker, but they grew over time. Now you started to wonder,'What would Jesus do?' You never wondered THAT before. There was a new BENT to your life. The lust of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes and the boastful pride of life were no longer king in your life- Christ was. Gradually, over time, your love for Him and His word began to grow. That was the result of regeneration- and you are still being renewed.

    There is the contrast: The old nature as described in 1 John 2:16 versus your new nature described in Gal.5:16-26. The old "BENT" (crucfied with Christ, taken out of the way) and the new in its place ( thanks to the Holy Spirit). This unredeemed body is the problem. Your new nature is to please God, the flesh does not like that. But, that is not to say that your old nature is still alive-these are just the remnants of sin in us. Our new nature abhors these tendancies of the flesh, where as our old nature would have indulged them. Now when I sin I can actually feel at least a little of the grief that the Indwelling Holy Spirit feels.

    I guess to sum it up: Old nature verus new is all in the bent of your life. The old is dead and the new is getting stronger over time.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 11:35 AM  

  • Mark,
    That IS just how it has happened in my case. I feel that grief that you speak of when I realise the sin that is in me.

    I would only question one thing:
    This unredeemed body is the problem.
    Do you include the mind as well in this descirption, because that is where a lot of my problems seem to arise from. That seems to be the source of sinfulness that is hardest to put off, jealousies, angry, selfish thoughts. Are those related to the body?

    I believe that is why we are told to renew our mind, because it is really the source of sin, is it not?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/17/2006 12:42 PM  

  • Rose,
    I will respond latter if I may. I must leave for work in 5 minutes.

    Your friend!

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/17/2006 1:42 PM  

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